Climate Change Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X)

Federal Funding and Technical Assistance for Climate Adaptation

Communities use a variety of sources to fund capital projects, pay for operations and maintenance costs, and sustain programs. It is expected that communities will continue to use a diversity of funding sources as they make investments in climate adaptation. No single source of funding (e.g., the federal government) can pay for all investments in climate adaptation across the nation.

An illustrative list of common funding sources is provided below. The particular mix of sources will vary across communities, depending on their particular circumstances and needs.

  • Taxes such as property, sales, and income levies
  • Fees such as charges for inspections and permits
  • State and federal grants such as those that support improvements to drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems
  • Bonds which enable communities to borrow money to pay for projects
  • Loans to pay for projects and programs
  • Public-Private Partnerships that entail contractual agreements between a public agency and a private sector entity allowing for cooperation and collaboration in the financing, planning, design, construction, and maintenance of water infrastructure.

A useful summary of the different types of funding sources, their advantages and disadvantages, and examples of several municipal programs that have employed them can be found in:

Getting to Green: Paying for Green Infrastructure (PDF)(43 pp, 2 MB, EPA 842-R-14-005 About PDF)

To help communities consider funding and financing options, EPA has established a network of Environmental Finance Centers that provide communities with innovative solutions to help manage the costs of environmental protection programs and activities. Use the link below to find a center near you.

Environmental Finance Centers

EPA has also established a Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center that provides financial expertise to communities that are financing drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure.

Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center

EPA has already modernized many of its own existing funding programs to encourage and support investments in climate adaptation. Major examples include:

Growing financesEPA Funding Opportunities

EPA and a number of other federal government entities offer financial and technical resources to advance local adaptation efforts. An increasing number of assistance programs are recognizing that climate-resilient investments represent good government (i.e., sound investments even in a changing climate).

The tabs below highlight EPA funding opportunities that encourage climate adaptation, provide information on general EPA and other federal funding, and information on technical assistance.

“…build resilience to climate change by integrating considerations of climate change impacts and adaptive measures into … grant, loan, contract, or technical assistance programs to further EPA’s mission, consistent with existing authorities…”

EPA Strategic Plan

EPA Funding that Supports Climate Adaptation

EPA has modernized the financial assistance programs below to encourage climate-resilient investments. Each of these programs now incorporate specific criteria, allow for adaptation planning, or otherwise encourage communities to anticipate, plan for, and adapt to the changing climate.

State Revolving Fund (SRF)

Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup Alternatives

Tribal General Assistance Program

  • GAP Guidance – 2014
    This Guidance provides a consistent national framework for building tribal environmental program capacity and strengthen management of GAP resources. The Guidance allows Tribes to use GAP funds to support development of Climate Change Adaptation Plans.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)

Environmental Justice Small Grants Program

  • The Environmental Justice Small Grants Program helps communities with localized strategies to avoid, lessen or delay the risks and impacts associated with our changing climate. As a result, the 2015 funding cycle special emphasis on proposals supporting community based preparedness and resilience efforts.
  • View some of the FY2015 grantees and a brief description of their proposals.

All EPA & Federal Funding Resources

EPA and a number of other federal government entities offer financial and technical resources to advance local adaptation efforts. Below are links to general EPA and other federal grant resources that may be helpful.

EPA Grant and Funding Resources:

Other Federal Funding Resources:

  • US Climate Resiliency Toolkit – Funding Opportunities – This website offers links to a range of government, private, and international funding opportunities.
  • Grants.Gov – is your one-stop place to FIND and APPLY for all federal grants. It is the required website used by federal agencies to post discretionary funding opportunities and for grantees to check their eligibility, register and apply.

EPA Technical Assistance

In addition to financial assistance, EPA also sometimes provides technical assistance to help communities anticipate, plan and prepare for the changing climate. Below are some of the most relevant technical assistance opportunities: 

  • Creating Resilient Water Utilities (CRWU) – Provides water utility managers with tools, training, and technical assistance needed to adapt to climate change. Additionally, they provide a clear understanding of climate science and adaptation options for the water sector.
  • Brownfields Technical Assistance – Provides technical assistance and resources to help small, rural, environmental justice, and other community stakeholders with the necessary technical assistance to aid in the assessment and cleanup of brownfield properties.
  • Smart Growth Technical Assistance Programs – Offer technical assistance to help communities learn about and implement smart growth approaches, some of which can be used to adapt to a changing climate.
  • Partnership for Sustainable Communities (PSC) – Partnership agencies periodically offer funding opportunities that work to coordinate federal housing, transportation, water, and other infrastructure investments to make neighborhoods more prosperous, allow people to live closer to jobs, save households time and money, and reduce pollution.
  • Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities – Technical assistance program delivers quick, targeted assistance to give communities tools to implement smart growth approaches.
  • College/Underserved Community Partnership Program (CUPP) – CUPP provides technical assistance to small underserved communities from local colleges and universities at no cost to the communities.